Worksites Participate in Foodbox ProgramPosted: November 9, 2012
Two NE Iowa employers are hosting a worksite foodbox program featuring local foods for their employees. The program is part of a research study conducted by ISU Extension in partnership with the NE Iowa Food & Farm Coalition and non-profit, Allamakee New Beginnings.
Over 30 employees at Rockwell Collins and the ISU Extension office in Decorah receive a grocery bag full of local food items each week. Employees pay $15 or $30 for their bag and order the bags one week before delivery.
The food bags include meat, milk, eggs, yogurt, produce, breads, and other products from NE Iowa farms. Oneota Community Food Coop is providing storage and staging space. The project is funded in part by a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant. Nick McCann, program coordinator from ISU Extension and Outreach, is leading the project.
"Busy families need convenient access to local food. Delivering local food to the places where people work provides convenient access to great local products at a reasonable price," says McCann. "Buying local products keeps money in our communities and allows us to enjoy the bounty that Northeast Iowa farms can provide."
McCann is studying the mechanics of a "food hub" – aggregating products from several farms to market them to institutions, restaurants and grocers. The food hub model is gaining traction nationwide as a vehicle to help small and midsized farms supply buyers they cannot reach on their own, and for buyers to access large volumes of local product.
The NE Iowa Food & Farm Coalition works to create opportunities for farmers to engage in the food system as part of the NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative.
McCann is looking for other worksites to host the program in the future. For more information, contact Nick McCann by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 563-382-2949.